Mother of three and her child trafficking syndicates has been arrested following her confession to selling all her three kids she had with three different men for N500,000.
The lady, Blessing Stephen, who is a member of a child trafficking syndicate was arrested alongside a self-acclaimed doctor, Una Godwin, 58; Blessing John, 27, Israel Ariyo, 33, Itoro Anthony, 40, and Mforbong Ntoro, 48, who all operate together.
They were recently arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team.
A manhunt for one of the suspects, John, led to the arrest of others after she abandoned a four-year-old boy she had abducted in a church in Ketu.
She reportedly abducted the boy, Ojo, at Ikota Housing Estate in Ajah in July 2019 and then sold him in Akwa Ibom State to Ntoro for N350,000. But due to Ojo’s unpleasant cries which left Ntoro’s neighbours suspicious of her, she was forced to return the child to John and then asked for a baby as a replacement.
When John brought the child back to Lagas, she reportedly abandoned him inside the church in Ketu and disappeared. The church reported the incident at the Ketu Police Station and the boy was later reunited with his parents.
After a petition was written to the IRT to arrest the suspect, the team tracked down John a few weeks ago down to Ibadan, Oyo State, and she led them to arrest her other accomplices.
According to her, she went into child trafficking due to hardship and needed money to treat an ailment she was battling with.
John said, “I did an abortion which backfired. I had a surgery and needed money to continue treatment. I contacted my friend, Blessing Stephen, and she told me I could raise money by stealing a child. I abducted the boy and took him to Ibadan, Oyo State, where Blessing lived with her husband (Israel Ariyo).
“The boy spent three days with them before we took him to Akwa Ibom where we sold him to Mrs Ntoro for N350,000.”
Stephen, a native of Nsitayi, Akwa Ibom State also confessed she sold all the three kids s she had with three different men to Ntoro, who in turn resold them.
She said, “I once lived in Ikota, Ajah. I dated one Julius Abang and he impregnated me. I had a boy named Emmanuel for him in 2010 and the following year, we broke up. My mother was taking care of me and the boy but when life became unbearable, I sought advice from Mrs. Ntoro, who is from my village.
“She advised me to sell the child and tell his father that he is dead. I sold him for N150,000. In 2012, my mother died and I travelled to Akwa Ibom for her burial. I dated another man, a truck driver, and he impregnated me. After some time, he abandoned me and I sold the child I had for him for N100,000.
“In 2013, I met another lover who is a motorcycle rider. Within six months, he impregnated me but he was so poor that he could not even feed me or pay rent. The engine of the motorcycle packed up and he became jobless. We sold the baby for N250,000 and Mrs Ntoro collected N20,000. Later Mrs. Ntoro called from the village that she needed another baby boy. I told Blessing (John) but unfortunately, we ran into trouble.”
One of the suspects, Godwin also revealed how he made N300,000 proceeds from two babies they sold nd how he helped women to sell their babies because they were desperately in need of money.
He said, “A woman told me that her husband was doing illegal oil bunkering and was killed in the process. She said life was tough for her and that she wanted to sell one of her five children to survive the hardship. I told Mrs. Anthony to look for a buyer. She sold the baby N450,000 and I gave the mother N350,000 and I collected only N100,000.”
The police are still investigating to track those who Ntoro sold children to.